On the silence of 2century apologists

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Bernard Muller
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Re: On the silence of 2century apologists

Post by Bernard Muller » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:02 am

For the ones interested, I described here in details http://historical-jesus.info/hjes3x.html how a strictly Jewish messianic sect provided the start to an evolution which led to a Gentile Christianity incompatible with Judaism.

Cordially, Bernard
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Jax
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Re: On the silence of 2century apologists

Post by Jax » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:09 am

archibald wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:04 am
Jax wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:53 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:11 pm
MrMacSon and Jax, is the proposition on the table simply that Christianity started as a Greek/Hellenistic sect, with little to no Jewish/Semitic influence at all, and only later spread to Jewish/Semitic people groups?
Hi Ben, in my case, I note that all of the places that we normally associate with the origins of early Christianity appear to be in Asia Minor, Macedonia, Greece and later Rome, Syria and Alexandria by Egypt. Further, a large proportion of those sites are Roman military veteran colonies of Julius and Augustus Caesar of the late 1st century BCE (Corinth, Philippi, Troyas, Sinope) or major Roman cities (Thessalonika, Ephesus, Antioch, Alexandria, Rome) with the earliest sites for Christianity being Corinth, Thessalonika, Philippi, and Rome.

No sign of Christianity outside of much later tradition seems evident in the Levant until after the Bar Kokhba revolt when the area was heavily resettled by Roman emigrants. Also the spread of Christianity doesn't seem to radiate out from Jerusalem as would seem normal if that area was the source of this new cult. Rather, it seems to radiate out from Greece and Asia Minor.

Add to this the fact that the language of early Christianity is Koine Greek and not Jewish or Aramaic as one would expect from a cult originating from the Levant and one could make a case for Christianity not originating there. Also the vast majority of names in the NT and other early Christian literature are Greek and Roman not Jewish.

While it is obvious that the early Christians data mined the Jewish works, it is the Greek translations of that literature that are being used not the Jewish and Aramaic originals, and Greek and Roman literature and philosophy are clearly and abundantly evident in early Christian thought and literature. Not to mention that Jesus being the son of God is clearly a pagan concept that is foreign to Judaism. Couple this with the overwhelming rejection of Christianity by the Jewish people and I feel that a Jewish origin for Christianity to be unlikely.

The anti-Jewish nature of Christianity would seem odd for a religion that originated from Judaism.

I don't want to give the impression that some sort of conspiracy was in play here, rather, that a new cult began by using Judaism as a base and organically evolved from there. The Romans and Greeks are well known for adopting foreign cults and adapting them to suit their needs, the cult of Serapis is a good example of this.

My II quadrans.

Lane
I can see where some of your ideas are coming from, and I'm not averse to considering them.....

But, regarding non-conspiracy, wouldn't the (apparently 1st C) epistles (apparently) referring to a prior Jerusalem group start to involve potential deception on the part of a writer? And that's just for starters. I'm also wondering which 'cult' you think it (Rome) was adopting, and whether you have the new Roman cult alleging that it (Rome) was initially hostile to the new religion it was adopting.

I say that without assuming anything. I am open to alternatives. I may not eventually subscribe to them.

Consider me sceptical, but listening. :)
Morning archibald, thanks for listening. :)

As to your first question: I think that we need to consider the Christian cult as evolving longer than is accepted by mainstream scholarship. I am currently looking into the possibility that the apostle Paul is actually writing in the mid to late 1st century BCE.
While admittedly on the fringe with this idea I feel that it has at least some merit. Oh! In case you are wondering, a pre-CE Paul is not my idea but rather an idea proposed at various times by others, I am merely looking into it as a possibility (so far with very encouraging results BTW).

Most people that critically study the origins of Christianity I think will agree that the evidence that we have now would seem to point to an explosion of interest and literate output of Christian works in the very late 1st century through 2nd century.

Except for the letters of Paul. Paul is the joker in this deck.

If Paul is indeed writing in the 1st century BCE (and I am really beginning to come around to this idea) and the first Gospel is late 1st century/early 2nd century then we are talking about, around, a hundred years between the two. Somewhere in the neighborhood of two to three generations between the letters of Paul and his Christ Jesus and our first accounts of Jesus of Nazareth in the Gospels. Plenty of time for the cult to evolve past what Paul had originally intended.
And what was Paul's original intent BTW?

Good question.

Instead of trying to answer your second question, the answers of which I am trying to discover myself, I'll ask a few questions myself.

1: If Paul is writing in the 1st century BCE and referring to people of the cult that he is promoting, what cult might that be?

2: When one discards Acts as the political and theological fiction that it obviously is why then do we suppose that Paul was involved with groups in Greece and Macedonia? His letters seem to indicate that he is from Damascus and yet he is for some reason in Asia Minor and Greece as far as Illyricum? And why does he call it Illyricum BTW when it was called Dalmatia and Pannonia in the mid 1st century since 10 CE (a fact that whoever wrote 2 Timothy corrected)?

That's enough for now. Please feel free to pick apart everything that I have posted on this, I will not be offended. Even though I probably seem like some fringe nutter, the truth is that I am just investigating this possibility and am not actually emotionally or academically married to it.
Actually I welcome the challenge of trying to justify my observations.

Lane

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Re: On the silence of 2century apologists

Post by Bernard Muller » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:38 am

And why does he call it Illyricum BTW when it was called Dalmatia and Pannonia in the mid 1st century since 10 CE
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illyricum ... _province):
Illyricum /ɪˈlɪrɪkəm/ was a Roman province that existed from 27 BC to sometime during the reign of Vespasian (69-79 AD).
Cordially, Bernard
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: On the silence of 2century apologists

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:19 am

Jax wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:09 am
And why does he call it Illyricum BTW when it was called Dalmatia and Pannonia in the mid 1st century since 10 CE (a fact that whoever wrote 2 Timothy corrected)?
The province was still known as Illyricum under Tiberius (emperor from AD 14 to 37) and Claudius (emperor from AD 41 to 54), and even later:

Marjeta Šašel Kos, "Roman Conquest of Illyricum (Dalmatia and Pannonia) and the Problem of the Northeastern Border of Italy," in Studia Europaea Gnesnensia 7, page 182: After the Pannonian-Dalmatian rebellion in AD 9, Illyricum may have been divided into superius and inferius, but was officially called Dalmatia and Pannonia probably not earlier than under Vespasian; after this division, no Roman province bore the name Illyricum. [Link: http://bazhum.muzhp.pl/media/files/Stud ... 69-200.pdf.]

Marjeta Šašel Kos, "Pannonia or Lower Illyricum," in Tyche 25, pages 125, 127: Dolabella, who governed Illyricum for several years under Tiberius, must have been appointed as early as under Augustus, but shortly before his death. .... In the reign of Claudius, ca. 43–51 AD, C. Ummidius Durmius Quadratus is epigraphically attested as a governor (legatus divi Claudi) in Illyricum [CIL X 5182 = ILS 972: leg. divi Claudi in Illyrico]. .... When was it called Pannonia? Was it perhaps renamed under Claudius, when administrative changes took place in Noricum, possibly late in his reign? Probably not, since at least in AD 61, in a recently published military diploma from Vukovar (Cornacum), of July 2 of that year, auxiliary units from the Pannonian part of the province are mentioned as having been stationed in Illyricum under L. Salvidienus Salvianus Rufus. [Link: https://www.academia.edu/489535/Pannoni ... _Illyricum.]

Velleius Paterculus, The Roman History 2.125.5: 5 In this task he had in Junius Bassus no ordinary helper, a man whom one does not know whether to consider more useful in the camp or better in the toga. A few years later, as proconsul in Africa, he earned the ornaments of a triumph, with the title of imperator. The two provinces of Spain, however, and the army in them were held in peace and tranquillity, since Marcus Lepidus, of whose virtues and distinguished service in Illyricum I have already spoken, was there in command, and since he had in the highest degree the quality of instinctively knowing the best course and the firmness to hold to his views. On the coast of Illyricum [in maritima parte Illyrici] his vigilance and fidelity was emulated in detail by Dolabella, a man of noble-minded candor.

ILS 938 (English translation): To Publius Cornelius Dolabella, consul [AD 10], one of the Seven for feasts, Titian sodalis, propraetorian legate of the god Augustus and Tiberius Caesar Augustus of the states of the upper province of Illyricum [civitates superioris provinciae Hillyrici]. [Link: https://books.google.com/books?id=pL0BC ... 22&f=false.]

ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

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Re: On the silence of 2century apologists

Post by archibald » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:20 pm

Jax wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:09 am
1: If Paul is writing in the 1st century BCE and referring to people of the cult that he is promoting, what cult might that be?

2: When one discards Acts as the political and theological fiction that it obviously is why then do we suppose that Paul was involved with groups in Greece and Macedonia? His letters seem to indicate that he is from Damascus and yet he is for some reason in Asia Minor and Greece as far as Illyricum? And why does he call it Illyricum BTW when it was called Dalmatia and Pannonia in the mid 1st century since 10 CE (a fact that whoever wrote 2 Timothy corrected)?
Jax wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:09 am
That's enough for now. Please feel free to pick apart everything that I have posted on this, I will not be offended. Even though I probably seem like some fringe nutter, the truth is that I am just investigating this possibility and am not actually emotionally or academically married to it.
Actually I welcome the challenge of trying to justify my observations.
I'm not sure I especially want to pick it apart. It all seems.....(relatively) uncontroversial. :)

As to your question 1
, my guess is that it's a new or newish (ie 1st C CE) and small/fringe Jewish cult based around Jerusalem, one whose (Jewish) leader was recently crucified. They appear to think he cheated death. Which is of course arguably the oddest feature of the whole shebang, that they should think this about a dead leader. But hey, maybe somebody stole and disposed of the body or something.

Because he was supposed to have been crucified (a Roman punishment), I have suspicions that he was not exactly a man of peace and goodwill, especially not to the Romans and possibly not towards the Jewish and Herodian establishment that either tolerated the Romans or worked with/for them. A bit of a radical, at least. Possibly nationalist. Possibly part of, or having some associations with, or at the very least being seen (by the Romans) as having some connection to, what Josephus called 'The Fourth Philosophy'.

Your question 2. Yes, Paul did seem to get about, apparently, according to the writings. My best guess for why he wouldn't have operated in Jerusalem was because his preachings would not have been in line with the original group. They may in fact have been badly out of line with them, more badly than either he or Acts would have the reader believe.

According to him, he was already 'mobile' before converting, Damascus not being in Judea. After that, the 'travels of Paul' seem mainly to be described on a northern mediterranean trajectory between Judea and Rome. The guy clearly was on a mission of some sort, away from the rest of the group, and it was, I think, his mission, he was ploughing his own, independent furrow, for whatever reason (and I do not rule out that he had ulterior motives, including money). He may, possibly, have had Herodian connections and as such, either some connections to or some affinity with the Romans and/or Rome. If he was from Tarsus, then going north along the med would make more sense than going south or east (from Judea). Not that I assume he necessarily was from Tarsus.

Those are just my guesses. Not very radical by currently-fashionable internet forum standards, I know. Fairly radical, in parts at least, to most Christians and many (though not all) bible scholars, maybe.

You don't necessarily need to answer my questions if you are being non-controversial, by which I mean returning to suggesting a non-Judean origin or a spread of Christianity that was other than outward from Judea or that only reached Judea later. If you do that.....have a go at my questions. :)

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Re: On the silence of 2century apologists

Post by MrMacSon » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:51 pm

archibald wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:20 pm
Jax wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:09 am
1: If Paul is writing in the 1st century BCE and referring to people of the cult that he is promoting, what cult might that be?
As to your question 1, my guess is that it's a new or newish (ie 1st C CE) and small/fringe Jewish cult based around Jerusalem ...

There were various divisions happening within Judaism in the early 1st century CE -eg. --

After Menahem the Essene had resigned the office of vice-president of the Sanhedrin, Shammai was elected to it, Hillel being at the time president. After Hillel died, circa 20 CE, Shammai took his place as president, but no vice-president from the minority was elected so the school of Shammai attained complete ascendancy. Shammai passed "18 ordinances" in conformity with his ideas.

The Talmud states that when he passed one of the ordinances, contrary to the opinion of Hillel, the day "was as grievous to Israel as the day when the [golden] calf was made" (Shabbat, 17a). The exact content of the ordinances is not known, but they seem to have been designed to strengthen Jewish identity by insisting on stringent separation between Jews and gentiles, an approach that was regarded as divisive and misanthropic by Shammai's opponents.

Hillel's grandson Gamaliel succeeded Shammai as president of the Sanhedrin in the year 30, but the Sanhedrin would remain dominated by the house of Shammai until around 70 (see Council of Jamnia).

Rabbinical Judaism follows Hillel. The legality of the rulings of the house of Shammai is said to have been nullified by a "voice from heaven" (Yerushalmi Berakhot, 1:4), but, given the great difference in their ages (Hillel being 60 years older than Shammai), it is more likely that the nascent Pharisaic Sanhedrin was more familiar with and had more respect for the work of Hillel.

... Once, when a gentile came to [Shammai] and asked to be converted to Judaism (or Noahide monotheism, as H. Falk argues) upon the condition of extreme brevity ("on one foot") which Shammai held to be impossible. He drove the brazen applicant away; whereas Hillel rebuked him gently by saying, "What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. This is the whole Torah. The rest is the explanation. Go and learn." The gentile subsequently converted (Shabbat, 31a).
Wikipedia says Shammai was succeed by Caiaphas --

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Re: On the silence of 2century apologists

Post by hakeem » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:56 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:02 am
For the ones interested, I described here in details http://historical-jesus.info/hjes3x.html how a strictly Jewish messianic sect provided the start to an evolution which led to a Gentile Christianity incompatible with Judaism.

Cordially, Bernard
Your arguments are all baseless. The Christian Bible specifically claims Jesus was God Creator in the Flesh--not just a mere man. The claim in the Christian Bible that Jesus the Lord from heaven actually existed on earth is no different to the claim in their own Bible that God and Adam really existed and were on earth in the garden of Eden before or after a snake talked to Eve.

The Gospels, Acts of the Apostles and all the Epistles are contradictory non-historical non contemporary uncoroborated propaganda manufactured after the Fall of the Jewish Temple c70 CE.

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Jax
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Re: On the silence of 2century apologists

Post by Jax » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:53 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:19 am
Jax wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:09 am
And why does he call it Illyricum BTW when it was called Dalmatia and Pannonia in the mid 1st century since 10 CE (a fact that whoever wrote 2 Timothy corrected)?
The province was still known as Illyricum under Tiberius (emperor from AD 14 to 37) and Claudius (emperor from AD 41 to 54), and even later:

Marjeta Šašel Kos, "Roman Conquest of Illyricum (Dalmatia and Pannonia) and the Problem of the Northeastern Border of Italy," in Studia Europaea Gnesnensia 7, page 182: After the Pannonian-Dalmatian rebellion in AD 9, Illyricum may have been divided into superius and inferius, but was officially called Dalmatia and Pannonia probably not earlier than under Vespasian; after this division, no Roman province bore the name Illyricum. [Link: http://bazhum.muzhp.pl/media/files/Stud ... 69-200.pdf.]

Marjeta Šašel Kos, "Pannonia or Lower Illyricum," in Tyche 25, pages 125, 127: Dolabella, who governed Illyricum for several years under Tiberius, must have been appointed as early as under Augustus, but shortly before his death. .... In the reign of Claudius, ca. 43–51 AD, C. Ummidius Durmius Quadratus is epigraphically attested as a governor (legatus divi Claudi) in Illyricum [CIL X 5182 = ILS 972: leg. divi Claudi in Illyrico]. .... When was it called Pannonia? Was it perhaps renamed under Claudius, when administrative changes took place in Noricum, possibly late in his reign? Probably not, since at least in AD 61, in a recently published military diploma from Vukovar (Cornacum), of July 2 of that year, auxiliary units from the Pannonian part of the province are mentioned as having been stationed in Illyricum under L. Salvidienus Salvianus Rufus. [Link: https://www.academia.edu/489535/Pannoni ... _Illyricum.]

Velleius Paterculus, The Roman History 2.125.5: 5 In this task he had in Junius Bassus no ordinary helper, a man whom one does not know whether to consider more useful in the camp or better in the toga. A few years later, as proconsul in Africa, he earned the ornaments of a triumph, with the title of imperator. The two provinces of Spain, however, and the army in them were held in peace and tranquillity, since Marcus Lepidus, of whose virtues and distinguished service in Illyricum I have already spoken, was there in command, and since he had in the highest degree the quality of instinctively knowing the best course and the firmness to hold to his views. On the coast of Illyricum [in maritima parte Illyrici] his vigilance and fidelity was emulated in detail by Dolabella, a man of noble-minded candor.

ILS 938 (English translation): To Publius Cornelius Dolabella, consul [AD 10], one of the Seven for feasts, Titian sodalis, propraetorian legate of the god Augustus and Tiberius Caesar Augustus of the states of the upper province of Illyricum [civitates superioris provinciae Hillyrici]. [Link: https://books.google.com/books?id=pL0BC ... 22&f=false.]

Thank you Ben, this is very helpful information. :thumbup:

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Re: On the silence of 2century apologists

Post by Jax » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:25 pm

archibald wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:20 pm
Jax wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:09 am
1: If Paul is writing in the 1st century BCE and referring to people of the cult that he is promoting, what cult might that be?

2: When one discards Acts as the political and theological fiction that it obviously is why then do we suppose that Paul was involved with groups in Greece and Macedonia? His letters seem to indicate that he is from Damascus and yet he is for some reason in Asia Minor and Greece as far as Illyricum? And why does he call it Illyricum BTW when it was called Dalmatia and Pannonia in the mid 1st century since 10 CE (a fact that whoever wrote 2 Timothy corrected)?
Jax wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:09 am
That's enough for now. Please feel free to pick apart everything that I have posted on this, I will not be offended. Even though I probably seem like some fringe nutter, the truth is that I am just investigating this possibility and am not actually emotionally or academically married to it.
Actually I welcome the challenge of trying to justify my observations.
I'm not sure I especially want to pick it apart. It all seems.....(relatively) uncontroversial. :)

As to your question 1
, my guess is that it's a new or newish (ie 1st C CE) and small/fringe Jewish cult based around Jerusalem, one whose (Jewish) leader was recently crucified. They appear to think he cheated death. Which is of course arguably the oddest feature of the whole shebang, that they should think this about a dead leader. But hey, maybe somebody stole and disposed of the body or something.

Because he was supposed to have been crucified (a Roman punishment), I have suspicions that he was not exactly a man of peace and goodwill, especially not to the Romans and possibly not towards the Jewish and Herodian establishment that either tolerated the Romans or worked with/for them. A bit of a radical, at least. Possibly nationalist. Possibly part of, or having some associations with, or at the very least being seen (by the Romans) as having some connection to, what Josephus called 'The Fourth Philosophy'.

Your question 2. Yes, Paul did seem to get about, apparently, according to the writings. My best guess for why he wouldn't have operated in Jerusalem was because his preachings would not have been in line with the original group. They may in fact have been badly out of line with them, more badly than either he or Acts would have the reader believe.

According to him, he was already 'mobile' before converting, Damascus not being in Judea. After that, the 'travels of Paul' seem mainly to be described on a northern mediterranean trajectory between Judea and Rome. The guy clearly was on a mission of some sort, away from the rest of the group, and it was, I think, his mission, he was ploughing his own, independent furrow, for whatever reason (and I do not rule out that he had ulterior motives, including money). He may, possibly, have had Herodian connections and as such, either some connections to or some affinity with the Romans and/or Rome. If he was from Tarsus, then going north along the med would make more sense than going south or east (from Judea). Not that I assume he necessarily was from Tarsus.

Those are just my guesses. Not very radical by currently-fashionable internet forum standards, I know. Fairly radical, in parts at least, to most Christians and many (though not all) bible scholars, maybe.

You don't necessarily need to answer my questions if you are being non-controversial, by which I mean returning to suggesting a non-Judean origin or a spread of Christianity that was other than outward from Judea or that only reached Judea later. If you do that.....have a go at my questions. :)
Actually, Paul never says that he is from Judea, or Tarsus for that matter. Just reading his letters on their own one would assume that he was from Damascus.

One really good reason for him being in the areas that he was (Greece, Macedonia, Asia Minor, Illyricum), that I can see, would have been him being part of the conflicts taking place there in the 1st century BCE. AFAIK Paul is the only one in the NT that uses military imagery and refers to others as "fellow solders", that and the fact that he writes to and mentions three places that are Roman military veteran colonies begun just after those conflicts.

If he was part of the conflicts in that area and time, then the three cities, Corinth, Philippi, and Troyas, could have been where his war buddies now lived. His stated intention of passing through Rome on his way to Spain makes sense when one realizes that after the wars in Greece, Spain was the last place that needed pacifying by the Romans.
This scenario that I've outlined also goes a long way towards explaining how he found himself in Illyricum, and why.

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Re: On the silence of 2century apologists

Post by archibald » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:26 am

Jax wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:25 pm
Actually, Paul never says that he is from Judea, or Tarsus for that matter.
Yes, I'd forgotten that.
Jax wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:25 pm
Just reading his letters on their own one would assume that he was from Damascus.

One really good reason for him being in the areas that he was (Greece, Macedonia, Asia Minor, Illyricum), that I can see, would have been him being part of the conflicts taking place there in the 1st century BCE. AFAIK Paul is the only one in the NT that uses military imagery and refers to others as "fellow solders", that and the fact that he writes to and mentions three places that are Roman military veteran colonies begun just after those conflicts.

If he was part of the conflicts in that area and time, then the three cities, Corinth, Philippi, and Troyas, could have been where his war buddies now lived. His stated intention of passing through Rome on his way to Spain makes sense when one realizes that after the wars in Greece, Spain was the last place that needed pacifying by the Romans.
This scenario that I've outlined also goes a long way towards explaining how he found himself in Illyricum, and why.

Ok. That sounds....not an unreasonable hypothesis to explore, imo. Interesting.

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